Chapter 8 - Physical Development in Early Childhood Flashcards Preview

PSYC 3351 Topics in Child Development > Chapter 8 - Physical Development in Early Childhood > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 8 - Physical Development in Early Childhood Deck (54):

Brain Development

At age 2, the brain is 70% of its adult weight
At age 6, it’s 90% of its adult weight
Throughout this time, we see improvements in physical coordination, perception, attention, memory, language, logical thinking, imagination…
It’s not just the size of the brain that changes
By age 4, many parts of the cortex have overproduced synapses
Some regions, like the frontal lobes, have double the eventual adult number
Myelination of neural fibres, as well as synaptic growth, result in a high energy need that causes the energy metabolism in the cerebral cortex to peak at about this time
Pre-frontal cortex has rapid growth
Left hemisphere more active during 3 to 6 years
Right hemisphere increases steady with slight sprit between 8 and 10
Different parts of the brain grow more rapidly at different times
This biological development coincides with increases in abilities



Dew to brain lateralization (nature and nurture)
Prenatal thumb sucking and infants smoother movement with right side might explain why most children from a right hand bias
Left-handed people more often have right-brain or mixed dominance for language than do right-handed people
Inherit a handed bias but experience can over right it
Left handedness is more often seen in mentally retarted and mentally ill dew to atypical lateralization
Unusual lateralization can have advantages –speech, flexible thinking, more likely to form verbal and mathematical talents



Overabundance of synapses allow for young brain to acquire certain skills and ability’s
As neurons are stimulated they become more elaborate and to make room the unstimulated ones lose connection fibers and thus synapses
By 8 to 10 cognitive functions are no longer widely distributed and becomes more localized


Body growth

• After the first two years growth tapers off to a slower growth pattern.
• Baby fat drops off and they become thinner
• Torso lengthens and widens
• Spine straightens
• Longer legs
• Posture and coordination improves
• Extremely slow growth compared to ethnical average is a cause for concern
• Between 2 and 6 45 new epiphyses emerge
• By the end of preschool children start to loose primary teeth (genetic factors, cultural ancestry, nutritional factors, primary tooth care, tobacco smoke)



Special growth centers at the ends of a long bones that fuses with the shaft of the bone at the point where it was previously separated by cartilage to allow bone growth.


Skeletal age

The "bone age" of a child is the average age at which children reach this stage of bone maturation. A child's current height and bone age can be used to predict adult height.
Measured by x-rays of growth centers (Epiphyses)
It is the best estimate of a child’s physical age.
There is a gap in boys and girls at birth by 4 to 6 weeks and the gap widens through infancy and childhood. This may contribute to girl’s greater resistance to harmful environmental influence.


Cerebellum Development

Cerebellum is a brain structure that aids in balance and control of body movement

• Fibres linking the cerebellum to the cerebral cortex grow and myelinate from birth through the preschool years
• This contributes to dramatic gains in motor coordination
• These connections also support thinking—children with damage to the cerebellum usually display both motor and cognitive deficits, including problems with memory, planning, and language


Reticular formation Development

Reticular formation is a brain structure that maintains alertness and consciousness

• This structure generates synapses and myelinates throughout early childhood and into adolescence
• Some of fibres sent out from the reticular formation go to the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex, contributing to improvements in sustained, controlled attention


Hippocampus Development

and in spatial images we use to help us find our way

• This structure undergoes rapid synaptogenesis and myelination in the second half of the first year
• Over the preschool and elementary school years, the hippocampus and surrounding areas of the cerebral cortex continue to develop quickly, establishing connections with one another and with the frontal lobes
• We thus see dramatic gains in memory and spatial understanding in early and middle childhood
• Autobiographical memory – infantile amnesia


Corpus callosum Development

Corpus callosum is the large bundle of fibres connecting the two hemispheres of the brain

• Synaptogenesis and myelination increase at 1 year, peak between 3 and 6, then continue at a slower pace through middle childhood and adolescence
• The corpus callosum supports
 - Smooth coordination of movements on both sides of the body
 - Integration of many aspects of thinking, including perception, attention, memory, language, and problem solving



Amygdala – plays a central role in processing emotional information
Connections from between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex form and mylaniate during childhood and adolescence


Physical growth is influenced by a complex combination of ___________ and ____________ factors

Physical growth is influenced by a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors


Heredity and Hormones

Children’s physical size and rate of growth are related to those of their parents
Genes influence the body’s production of hormones, which in turn influences growth


Pituitary gland

a gland located near the base of the brain that releases hormones affecting physical growth


Growth hormone (GH)

Growth hormone (GH) is a pituitary hormone that affects the development of all body tissues except the central nervous system and the genitals
• Children who lack GH reach an average mature height of only 4’4”
• When treated with early injections of GH, they show catch-up growth, and then grow at a normal rate


Short height not do to (GH) problems and the effects on self esteem

No deficit in self-esteem or any other messure of psychological adjustment


Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a pituitary hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to release thyroxine, which is necessary for normal brain development and body growth
• Without sufficient thyroxine, GH doesn’t have its full impact on body size
• Infants born with a thyroxine deficiency will show deficits in growth of both brain and body if they don’t receive immediate treatment
 - After the brain growth spurt, only physical growth is a concern here


Emotional Well-Being

Emotional well-being can have strong effects on growth and health
Preschoolers with very stressful home lives suffer more respiratory and intestinal illnesses as well as more unintentional injuries


Psychosocial dwarfism

A growth disorder that appears between age 2 and 15. Typical chararictistics include decreased GH secretion (do to stress, emotional deprivation), very short stature, immature skeletal age, and serious adjustment problems.
If removed from environment early then GH returns to normal and they exhibit fast growth. If not the dwarfism can be permanent.


Sleep Habits and Problems

GH is released during sleeping hours
Sufficient rest contributes to a child’s ability to play, learn, and contribute positively to family functioning
Sleep difficulties are associated with: impaired cognitive performance, decreased attention, speed of thinking, working memory, test scores. More pronounced in low SES perhaps it heightens impact of other environmental stressors.
Disrupts parents sleep which could cause family stress.


Changes in amount of sleep

Total sleep general declines in early childhood
2- and 3-year-olds sleep 11 to 12 hours
4- to 6-year-olds sleep 10 to 11 hours
Younger preschoolers typically take a 1- to 2-hour nap in early afternoon, though there’s considerable variability


Going to sleep

Preschoolers can be rigid about their bedtime rituals, which may help them feel less uneasy about being left alone in a dark room
Trouble falling asleep is common in early childhood
It’s often more intense when families are in turmoil


Problems with sleep

It’s common for children to wake up during the night from time to time
Those who can’t get back to sleep may suffer from a sleep disorder

Nightmares are common at this age—about ½ of 3- to 6-year-olds have them occasionally (trouble separating fantasy and reality)
• About 4% of children are frequently sleepwalkers
• About 3% suffer sleep terrors (genetic and/or stress or extreme fatigue)

Most children who suffer from sleep disorders grow out of them naturall



Appetite becomes unpredictable in early childhood
• There’s often an overall decrease, as growth has slowed
• There’s a tendency to eat a lot at some meals and little at others
• Children often become picky eaters at this age


Types of foods

Preschoolers require the same foods as adults, though obviously in lower amounts
Fats, oils, and salt should be kept to a minimum because of the link to high blood pressure and heart disease later
Foods high in sugar should be avoided


food preferences

Pickyness is adaptive
Young children’s food preferences are shaped in part by the environment
They’ll eat what parents or admired peers eat
Repeated, unpressured exposure to new food increases acceptance
Beware adding sugar or salt to a new food
Beware sweet drinks it can cause milk avoidance
milk avoidance children are smaller and have less bone density


encourage healthy eating

A positive emotional climate at mealtime can be important
Although it’s important to encourage healthy eating, too much worrying and controlling behaviour surrounding food can have adverse effects
• For instance, bribing children to eat their vegetables by giving cookies afterwards can actually decrease their liking of vegetables and increase their liking of cookies
• It’s also important to give children opportunities to learn self-control, which may not happen if too much adult control is exerted


diets may be lacking

Even if there’s enough food, their diets may be lacking in protein, or in
Iron, which prevents anemia
• Calcium, which supports development of bones and teeth
• Zinc, which supports immune system functioning, neural communication, and cell duplication
• Vitamin A, to help maintain eyes, skin, and a variety of internal organs
• Vitamin C, to facilitate iron absorption and wound healing


Many North American children lack sufficient ______-________ food

Many North American children lack sufficient high-quality food


A child who lacks adequate nutrition may well

• Be smaller than a well-nourished child
• Have attentional difficulties
• Score lower on mental tests
• Show behavioural problems, especially hyperactivity and aggression


Encouraging good nutrition in early childhood

• Offer a varied, healthy diet (attractive, colorful, interesting, but still healthy)
• Offer predictable meals and several daily snacks. (small stomachs)
• Offer small portions and permit them to serve themselves and offer seconds (less over eating)
• Offer health new foods early in the meal and repeatedly at subsequent meals, be patient.
• Keep meal times pleasant
• Avoid using food as a reward


circular pattern of malnutrition and illness

Childhood illnesses don’t usually have much impact on growth, but can have a large one if a child was malnourished to start with
There’s a circular pattern here
• Malnutrition reduces the body’s immune response, leaving the child more vulnerable to illness
• Illness decreases appetite and limits the body’s ability to absorb foods (especially if there’s intestinal infection), worsening the malnutrition


Childhood illnesses ________ usually have much impact on growth, but can have a _______ one if a child was ___________ to start with

Childhood illnesses don’t usually have much impact on growth, but can have a large one if a child was malnourished to start with


Effects of a pattern of illness that decreases appetite and limits the body’s ability to absorb foods

The pattern can be quite severe
Studies carried out in developing nations have found that the more persistent diarrhea is in early childhood, the shorter children are in height and the lower they score on mental tests during the school years

• Oral rehydration therapy, consisting of a glucose, salt, and water solution, can replace lost fluids quickly and offset the particularly harmful effects of diarrhea
• Zinc supplements can help immune functioning and reduce incidence of diarrhea in the first place



Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of childhood mortality in industrialized nations.
Not necessarily accidental, meaning that they could not be prevented but a product of a complex ecological system of individual, family, community, and societal influences and we can do something about them.

• Boys 1.5 times more likely – higher activity level, greater impulsivity, and risk taking. But mothers think the chances are lower for their boys.
• Temperamental characteristics like: inattentiveness, overactivity, irritability, aggression, defiance
• Poverty
• Single parenting
• Societal conditions
• Lack of quality child care
• Teen parents

• Laws
• Product safety control
• Community environment (public transit, better playgrounds)
• Young children don’t remember all the safety rules and even when they remember a rule they need supervision to make sure they comply
• Parental monitoring and reinforcement
• Parental modeling


Reducing unintentional injuries in early childhood

• Provide age appropriate supervision and safety instruction
• Know the child’s temperament
• Eliminate the most serious dangers from the home
• During automobile travel always restrain the child properly in the back seat
• Select safe playground equipment and sites
• Be extra cautious around water
• Practice safety around animals


Childhood disease is more common if …

In children lacking immunizations
• Serious and life-threatening infections, like whooping cough and rubella, are more widespread in areas where many parents do not immunize their children
In children attending child-care
• Colds, diarrhea, and respiratory infection (which can result in otitis media) are the most common


Dynamic systems theory of motor development

Dynamic systems theory of motor development - a theory that views new motor skills as reorganizations of previously mastered skills, which lead to more effective ways of exploring and controlling the environment. (acquiring an increasingly complex systems of action)
- The term dynamic suggests that there is constant change in the child’s abilities
- The term system suggests that previously-separate abilities are combined, and work together to form new abilities

A new skill isn’t initially stable
• It may need refining, and may be intermittent at first
• Eventually, it’s refined and more consistent
• This involves practice, and often much of it
For instance, in learning to walk, toddlers often practice at least 6 hours per day, and travel the length of 29 football fields


Dynamic systems theory of motor development
Each new skill is a joint product of :

Each new skill is a joint product of
(1) central nervous system development, the body’s movement possibilities,
(2) the child’s goals, and
(3) environmental supports for the skill.

- Early in development, brain and body growth are likely the major contributors to a child’s motor development
- Later, the child’s goals and environmental support become more important


Gross Motor Development

As children’s bodies become less top-heavy, their entre of gravity shifts, improving their balance
• By age 2, a preschooler’s gait is more smooth rhythmic, soon allowing running, jumping, hopping, and skipping

Becoming steadier on their feet allows preschoolers to use their arms for tasks other than balance, and begin experimenting with new skills
• They can throw and catch balls, steer tricycles, swing on horizontal bars
• By 5 or 6, they can steer and pedal at the same time

Changes in ball skills provide a way to see the changes in gross motor development


Changes in gross and fine motor development during early childhood

-3 years
Gross motor – walks more rhythmically, fast walk becomes run, jumps, hops, throws, and catches with rigid upper body. Pushes riding toy with feet, a little steering.
Fine motor – puts on and removes simple items of clothing, zippers, uses spoon.

3-4 years
Gross motor – walks up stairs by alternating feet and down stairs leading one foot. Jumps and hops, flexing upper body, throws and catches with slight involvement of upper body, still catches by trapping ball against chest.
Fine motor - uses large buttons, serves themselves food, uses scissors, copies vertical lines and circles, draws first picture of person using tadpole image (tadpole image – circular shape with lines attached)

4-5 years
Gross motor – walks down stairs alternating feet. Runs more smoothly. Gallops and skips with one foot. Throws ball with increased body rotation and transfer of weight on feet. Catches ball with hands. Rides tricycle rapidly and steers smoothly.
Fine motor – uses fork effectively, cuts with scissors following a line, copies triangle, cross, and some letters.

5-6 years
Gross motor – increases running speed, gallops more smoothly, engages in true skipping, displays mature throwing and catching pattern, rides bicycle with training wheels
Fine motor – uses knife to cut soft food, ties shoes, draws person with six part, copies numbers and simple word


Self-help skills

Fine motor skills (care of their own bodies)
• 2-year-olds can put on and take off simple items of clothing
• By 3, they can adjust their clothing enough to take care of their own toileting needs
• Between 4 and 5, they can dress and undress without supervision
• Most master shoe-tying around age 6
• Young preschoolers can use a spoon well
• 4-year-olds can use a fork
• By 5 or 6, they can use a knife to cut soft foods


Fine Motor Development

The advances seen in fine motor skill during preschool years are usually most obvious to parents in (1) children’s care of their own bodies and in (2) their drawings and paintings


The typical progression of drawing

1. Scribbles begin early in the second year in Western children
2. First representational forms are seen at about age 3
3. Finally, more realistic drawings

The progression of drawing seems to be based at least as much on practice as on cognitive development
• In cultures in which pictorial art is not common, even older children asked to draw something will produce preschooler-like pictures


First representational forms

First representational forms are seen at about age 3; often involves labelling a ‘picture’ after they realize their scribbles have become something recognizable, (tadpole image – circular shape with lines attached)but they can intentionally draw something if shown how drawings can be representational

A major milestone is when children uses lines to represent the boundaries of an object (3-4 year old) this enables then to draw a person.


realistic drawings

Older preschoolers include more conventional figures, though there’s still some perceptual distortion as they first begin to represent depth (overlapping objects, smaller for size and distance, diagonal placement, converging lines).
Increases as perception, language, memory, fine motor capacities improve.


Drawing geometric objects

3-7 years - drawing a single unit to stand for an object (oval for cylinder)
4 – 13 years – drawing objet parts but not properly connecting them
8+ integrating the parts in to a realistic whole


Development of writing

drawing—both are just scribbles
• By about age 4, their writing shows some distinctive features of print, such as separate forms arranged in a line on the page
• They still often include picture like symbols in their drawing, though (red, round scribble for word apple)
• Between the ages of 4 and 6, they begin to understand that writing stands for language
• At about 4, they distinguish writing from nonwriting
• They begin identifying individual letters after that, but many preschoolers confuse letter pairs that look similar (C and G, E and F, M and W)
• Mirror-image letter pairs can give them trouble up to Grade 2 (b and d, p and q)
• First real attempts to print often involve trying to spell one’s own name, usually using a single letter at first
• By 5, most children can print their names clearly enough to be read by others


There are changes in pencil grip over time

Children often begin scribbling using the ulnar grasp
Most children are using an adult like grip by about age 6


Sex/Gender differences in motor development

Boys tend to outperform girls in skills that emphasize force and power
• By age 5, they can jump a little farther, run a little faster, and throw a ball about 5’ farther
Girls outperform boys in fine motor skills, and in skills that require a combination of balance and foot movement, such as hopping and skipping

Sex differences in motor skills increase with age
• Some physical differences increase (such as boys’ greater muscle mass and longer forearms, and girls physical maturity)
• Boys and girls are also encouraged to engage in, and thus practice as, very different activities


Enhancing Early Childhood Motor Development

• Formal lessons (e.g., gymnastics) during the preschool years have minimal impact on motor development
• The development of motor skills depends more on normal activities that occur as part of children’s everyday play
• It is important that the opportunity for play and practice is presented, though
• It’s been suggested that preschoolers should engage in at least an hour of unstructured physical activity every day
• They should have play spaces and equipment appropriate for running, climbing, jumping, and throwing (not to heavy)
• Daily routines are important in developing fine motor skills, as well (Pouring juice, dressing, playing with puzzles and construction sets, drawing, cutting, gluing all contribute to development)
• The social environment is important, too


How the social environment is important too motor development

Children will play more, practice more, and develop better if they are encouraged, rather than criticized or pushed
Children do better if adult involvement focuses on fun, rather than winning or perfecting technique


It’s been suggested that preschoolers should engage in at least __ _____ of unstructured __________ activity every day

It’s been suggested that preschoolers should engage in at least an hour of unstructured physical activity every day


The development of motor skills depends more on __________ activities that occur as part of children’s ___________ _______

The development of motor skills depends more on normal activities that occur as part of children’s everyday play